Hank Brennan, Famed Defense Attorney, Answers Questions on Scotty McMillan Defendants

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

The murder of Scott McMillan, the three year old savagely beaten and systematically tortured over a three day period by his mother and boyfriend, has drawn attention from media, legal scholars and  commentators.

Hank Brennan, famed attorney and co-counsel in the mobster trial for James "Whitey" Bulger and lead counsel in the appellate process to secure the notorious gangster a second trial based on government corruption is providing legal commentary for Haute-Lifestyle.com.

As the three defendants are set to appear in a Pennsylvania courtroom this month for arraignment, we posed rather basic questions to Mr. Brennan based on the facts that have been released surrounding the culpability of all adults at the scene.

The questions posed to Mr. Brennan, may sound simplistic, as he said "This is one of the most tragic and heart wrenching cases I have seen. As a criminal defense attorney you train yourself to ensure emotion is not part of the legal assessment. It is an almost impossible task to separate emotion from the facts of this case and it strains human nature to expect a jury to look at this case dispassionately."

Janet Walker: Does the possibility exist under the law to have the third person owner/primary renter of the home charged with the same crimes and face the same death penalty or life in prison considering she was present and has not denied being present?"

Hank Brennan: A person cannot be convicted of a crime unless they fall within one of the following categories: The person was actively involved in committing the criminal act; helped assist in the preparation of the act; or were involved in a conspiracy or joint-venture to commit the act.

A conspiracy or joint-venture basically means that the person shared the mental state necessary to commit the act and were willing to assist if necessary, even if they did not actively assist.

An owner or primary renter of a home where a crime occurred, regardless of how heinous, has no criminal liability if they did not help prepare, cover-up or share in the mental state necessary to commit the act.

Equally troublesome is that "good-Samaritan" laws generally do not impose criminal liability for failure to act unless the person created the risk and abandoned the victim who suffered as a result of the persons conduct.  States have varying laws relative to duty to act but essentially the consequences are limited to the civil system not the criminal system.  

The principal is basic, a person should not be punished for a criminal act they had no part of.  It may be incomprehensible that a parent would retreat behind the excuse that they did not want to get involved in the murder of a child but the law does not punish mere presence.  

 JW: Can her remarks of not wanting to get involved don't fly as the violence occurred in her home and thus by association make her a suspect in the abuse and as guilty and could even be grounds to create reasonable doubt in the mothers defense sending her to death row also."

HB: The government could have a viable case against the mother/primary renter on a theory of joint-venture.

The government merely needs to demonstrate presence, which she admits, along with the shared mental intent (intent to kill/malice). The government does not need to prove she committed any act. Rather, that she was willing to assist if necessary.

A compelling argument exists that she was willing to assist. She provided the opportunity, the means (her residence), and an inference exists that she shared the mental state.  No person could watch such brutality and not share the same malice. The jury could infer malice from the circumstances and given her conduct I would expect any jury to extend the inference as far as the law would allow.  To passively watch the vicious murder of a child creates an inference she shared the mental state of malice.

Complete prosecution of all involved, present or not, in the murder of Scott McMillan is the charge of the prosecutor. It is the charge of the media and every agency to bear pressure upon the system so as to ensure not one person, no matter how far removed from the dirty, dingy trailer where the lifeless boy was placed on an deflated mattress and left to die  escape unpunished.

 

Haute Tease

  • Prive Executive Private Jets - The Ultimate Luxury Experience

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Soar through the skies to the world’s finest destinations with Privé Jets and experience a world of endless travel possibilities in luxury and style on your next vacation. Privé Jets has planes are based in various locations around the world; we have access to the entire market place which is over 6,000 planes worldwide.

     
  • Celebrity Interview & Review: One Peace At A Time Highlights a Global Fix-it Campaign - From Turk Pipkin and Nobility Films

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    One Peace at a Time tells the story of one man’s journey as he embarks on a global search into the world’s worst problems to answer the nagging question of "Just how bad is it out there?"

     
  • NUIT #1 - An Emotional Journey of Modern Encounters from Award Winning Director Anne Emond

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    NUIT #1, from Canadian director Anne Emond, delves, deep and fast, into contemporary sexual encounters searching beyond the momentary pleasures of quick fix sex into the possibilities of permanency.

     
  • Festival De Cannes Announces 2018 Dates; Hosts Six Memorable 2017 Features for Festival de Cannes Week in Buenos Aires

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The 71st Festival de Cannes will take place from Tuesday, 8th May to Saturday, 19th May 2018. It will start one day earlier than in previous years, but will run for exactly the same length of time.  

  • Academy Film Scholar Donald Crafton Examines Animation’s Power to Create Imaginary Worlds

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA – In the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ latest celebration of works by Academy film scholars, Donald Crafton, professor of film, television and theater at the University of Notre Dame, will present highlights from his book Shadow of a Mouse: Performance, Belief, and World-Making in Animation on Wednesday, October 23, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.

     
  • Masatoyo Kishi, California Abstract Painter and Sculptor, Dies at 93

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Hackett Mill announces that Masatoyo Kishi, the abstract painter and sculptor, died recently in Grass Valley, California. He was 94. Born in Sakai, Japan on March 11, 1924, Kishi graduated from Tokyo University of Science in 1953 with degrees in Physics and Mathematics.

     
  • Nanfu Wang, Anna Rose Holmer and Jordana Mollick Named 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grant Winners

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the LA Film Festival, announced the winners of its three Spirit Awards filmmaker grants today at its annual Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch held at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood. Sterling K. Brown and Issa Rae co-hosted the event and handed out the honors.